Big Girl Milestone – Tie Shoes!

I’ve written about and shared some milestones on my kids before, but as my kids grow older, the milestones are different. They can happen more quickly and are not as frequently or carefully documented as in their very exciting first year of babyhood. There’s pictures of smiling, rolling over, sitting up, walking and more in my kids’ scrapbooks.

One milestone we celebrated over the weekend was getting my six year old her first pair of tie shoes! This is a big deal – an upgrade over Velcro shoes and a great shoe to wear for gym class.  Shoe shopping alone was a lot of fun with her. Some shoes were crazy – we found shoes that have a spin-disc, so you can twirl like a ballerina. Nice gimmick, but not practical for running! After trying on multiple pairs, she ended up with ones that look kind of like mine! Aren’t we cute?!

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Daughter – mother running shoes.

When I wanted to look at women’s shoes, she was very helpful, pointing out the be-jeweled 4 inch heels (perfect for everyday), and some beaded sandals. It was a fun outing for us, one that I hope will continue to go as smoothly as this past weekend. And when we got home, we found that these beauties came in mail for her.  So cute!

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Sparkles, jewels, and glitter oh my!

Immediately my daughter wanted to learn how to tie her new shoes. Knowing that there were “new” ways since I had learned many years ago, I turned to this You Tube video:

Sounds awesome, right? I could NOT figure our this so called “Magic Finger” method. It looks really cool and there are a lot of related videos, but it just wasn’t working.

I resorted to my “old” way, and she started to get the hang of it. She was getting frustrated, so I encouraged her to keep trying and left the room for a bit. In just a few minutes, I heard her yell, “Mommy, I did it!!” It was awesome! She kept on practicing throughout the day, so determined to do it right. Dad and I pointed out a few tricks for her to try, and some have helped.  We’re really proud of her for learning how to tie her shoes so quickly, and we hope all goes well at school with the multiple snow boot – shoe changes each day!

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Tie, tie, and tie again!

A few lessons

When my daughter has a goal in mind, watch out! She is one determined and sometimes stubborn little girl, who can get frustrated if she doesn’t succeed after a few attempts. It really helped when I walked away and didn’t hover the entire time. It seems to help to give guidance and then give her space to learn things on her own. This applies not only to shoe-tying, but so many other areas of her life!

Cheers to my big 6 year old girl!

Related Post

I talk about similar parenting lessons in Parenting is like a Family Bike-Ride

The BEST Kid Birthday Party Theme EVER!

My kids are kind of funny with their birthday parties.  I typically suggest what they might want on their birthday cake and then plan their party from there. For my son, I suggested a Thomas the Tank Engine cake, and he said yes.  My daughter, overhearing this conversation, said, “Don’t you want an elephant cake?” This made him change his mind immediately.  Yeah, yeah – an elephant cake!

My first reaction: how in the world can I make an elephant cake?!

I did what any mom / party planner would do, check out Pinterest!

I came across this amazing Vintage Circus Theme 1st Birthday post on Hostess with the Mostess. The pictures are beautiful and the ideas adorable!  It is a much grander party than we’d be throwing for our son’s 3rd birthday, but really really fun!

I pinned a few other ideas on my Kiddos board as well. One stop to the dollar store for Popcorn containers, crepe paper, balloons and some favors, and I was completely “all-in” on the circus themed birthday with an elephant cake!

It’s official – the circus party IS the BEST Kid Birthday Party Theme EVER!

circus themed birthday

Love the circus themed party with an elephant cake, knock the can over game, popcorn & circus peanuts, lollipop centerpiece, and “big top” tent over our table.

The basic color combination was so easy to do…a balloon bouquet hanging from our chandelier and crepe paper arranged to make our dining room feel more like a circus tent were really cute!  I did spend more time making the centerpiece, using a Styrofoam circle as a base. I shoved the colorful lollipops around the circle and covered the front & back with scrapbook paper and a #3 cut-out. For the circus game, I covered tin cans in scrapbook paper.  From an 18 month old to a 6 year old cousin, every kid had some fun (in their own style) knocking over the cans with a ball.

Our menu included brats & hot dogs, popcorn, circus peanuts, animal crackers, veggies & dip, pasta salad, cake & ice cream – kid-friendly, fun food of course!

Here are a few action shots from our day –

Little brother turns 3 - showing off his fishing pole with Mom & Dad.

Little brother turns 3 – showing off his fishing pole with Mom & Dad.

This was the best family picture we got! As you know, parties can be a bit hectic, so we forgot to try for a picture with all four of us. This one is so typical of family pictures – not looking at the camera, waving a toy around, somebody talking…but whatever, it captures the fun of the day, so I’ll take it. Little brother was so excited about his Star Wars fishing pole!

Happy siblings!

Happy siblings!

The store bought, professionally decorated birthday cake was a hit! Thanks for the idea big sister!  I caught my son saying “cheese” in this shot.

A little help blowing out the candles.

A little help blowing out the candles.

Kids just can’t resist helping blow out birthday candles.  In a wider shot, their cousin was also helping blow from a distance.  It is so sweet seeing the bigger kids help out the birthday boy….they especially did this while opening his presents in one crazy whirlwind.  The room became extra quiet when all the gifts were opened and everyone was playing with his toys.  So. Much. Fun.

Have you ever had a circus themed party?  What have been your favorite party themes?  My next party theme – PRINCESS!!

3 Milestones You Won’t Find in a Baby Book

As your children grow older, there seem to be fewer “official” milestones, the type that include the many firsts: rolling over, eating baby food, crawling, and walking. I have enjoyed creating a scrapbook for my daughter and son that celebrates many of these moments, trying to get equal representation for both children. (This is hard to do, right?!) After passing the one year mark, many of those major milestone start to trail off. Though I have noticed so many tiny million dollar moments that happen each and every day that are pretty funny, ironic, or downright amazing. For tiny moments such as these, I dedicate this post.

3 Milestones You Won’t Find in a Baby Book

1. FIRST time child says WHATEVER!  My 3 year old daughter delivered this line perfectly, shrugging her shoulders and raising her hands for the full effect.  I was a little confused though, as she ended up doing what I had asked her to do in the first place shortly after saying WHATEVER.  I say, “Whatever, dear child, and thank you for listening.”

2. FIRST time child takes care of own boogers.  For all of the nose wiping we do, this is a BIG deal, right Mamas? My son giggles when he picks his nose, frequently would blow his nose on my shoulder, and actually wiped his runny nose with his mitten (a common occurrence during Wisconsin winters).

3. FIRST time child growls at someone in public.  I can’t officially say if this was the first time this happened, but my daughter recently growled at a sweet old lady in the grocery store.  So sorry m’am. My daughter is not a conversationalist. 

What milestones have not made it in your baby book?  Do you prefer a hard copy scrapbook or digital albums?

Memories of Mark

I haven’t written in a while because I just could not be moved to do so.  My family recently said our goodbyes to my grandfather, and we just celebrated his life with family and friends who came to pay their respects at his wake and funeral.

I think my 4-year-old nephew explained it best to his grandma, saying, “Yes, Great-Grandpa is dead, but it’s okay, he’s up in heaven now driving his tractor.” My other nephew, almost 2 years old, who shares my grandpa’s name as a middle name (Mark), just sprung into the arms of my mom for a big hug after she sang a beautiful song during the funeral mass. It is amazing how little ones just know to provide love and comfort during difficult times.

I’d like to share just a few of the MANY memories and stories of my grandpa to honor his 85 years on this earth:

He truly was part of the “silent generation” that shared core values of hard work, respect for authority, loyalty, understood sacrifice and the value of a dollar.  He worked as a farmer for almost 50 years before retiring.

He was one of 12 children – one sister died at a young age – so there were 11 total children. They grew up on a farm with everyone helping out and working hard.

He could speak German, learning it from his parents and grandparents. They would usually speak German when they didn’t want the kids to understand what they were saying. He would re-tell us some of the naughty words that he heard, like “die verdammte Kinder!”

He was a great student, walking quite a distance to school (probably uphill both ways WITHOUT complaint). I remember that he told me about taking classes in farming in high school and more classes about business after high school.  He excelled in school,  actually passing up his older brother, a stubborn joker, who would NOT mind their teachers, moving ahead of him in grade levels.

He didn’t like to dance, so he let his my grandma dance with his brothers, so he “wouldn’t have to push her around the dance floor.” Really Grandpa? You said that?!! Kuddos to Grandma for still dancing!

When my grandparents were married in 1950, my grandma moved to his farm, where he had led the life of a bachelor for several years. He only had 1 fork and 1 spoon, and when he made her eggs, he first gave her the spoon. My grandma refused to use the spoon, so he let her have the fork! My grandma just laughs at this memory and shakes her head every time she retells it. She truly was the one who made their house a home!

He liked joking around and telling stories – often while sitting on the side of the room at family gatherings, just talking one on one with another relative. He made our significant others – the newcomers – feel so welcome. I always liked it when he did something to make Grandma say, “MARK!” in her disapproving, scolding tone. Grandpa’s eyes would get really big, he’d raise his shoulders and cross his arms, and say, “I’m in trouble!”

He loved playing cards – sheepshead – during which brandy slush would be served.

He had some amusing expressions like “slower than molasses in January.”  Apparently, they would pour molasses on the hay as a treat for the cows.  With Wisconsin winters, it certainly poured slowly for several months of the year.

I was so blessed to have shared so many years with him.  Visiting Grandma & Grandpa’s farm while growing up was always a new adventure: playing with the kitties in the barn, petting the calves and seeing the big cows, climbing around the hay mow, sledding and snowmobiling in winter too.  He was there for so many milestones in my life – graduation, wedding, and the births of my two children.  I will always cherish these memories and keep his legacy alive for my own family.  Love you always Grandpa!

My daughter meeting Great-Grandpa at her first Christmas

My daughter meeting her Great-Grandpa at her first Christmas

2012 Off and Gone

The past tense of “on the go” – a phrase I like to use at Go Mama O – is “off and gone,” or so I’ve decided.

It is so appropriate, as the end of 2012 was off and gone like a curious toddler in the toy aisle among our busy holiday festivities.  I have been mentally writing this post for a few days and feel blessed with some down time to pour it all out for your reading pleasure (by the way, THANK YOU dear readers)!

2012 Badger fans watching the Rose Bowl

2012 Badger fans watching the Rose Bowl – Too bad the 2013 Badger Rose Bowl ALSO ended in a loss. Hmm..I did wear the same sweatshirt both years.  Maybe that’s the problem!

As I reflect on 2012, I am proud to admit that I am happier, less stressed, and a more patient stay at home mama, who occasionally does freelance work.  I think it’s taken me a while to adjust to my routine at home and just enjoy the present. Being at home with my children HAS been such a blessing, and I know I will fondly look back on this time – even when it wasn’t all rosy dealing with diaper duty, potty training, sleep deprivation or tantrums galore. My kids have taught me some pretty amazing things this past year.  See my top 5 things I learned from my kids entry.

I compare the picture above to the ones below, taken about 1 year apart, and it reminds me how far my kiddos have come this past year too.  MAJOR milestones for little brother  – going from 4 months to almost 16 months, he’s now much more a toddler than my baby boy.  He’s been walking much more than his long preferred butt-scooting, and saying a lot of words in his sweet little voice. I love it when he says blanket, sleepy, and TREEEAT.

Christmas 2012 Little Brother on the go

Christmas 2012 Little Brother on the go

My daughter has come a long way too from 2 to 3 years old!  For a while I thought she was in an “anti-mama” mode, but after being at home with her, I feel that we are much closer, and it’s typically me she calls for in the middle of the night.  We’re conquering potty-training and enjoying a lot of pretend-play with our train and animal loving little girl. She tends to carry on a dialogue with herself throughout the day, as if she’s narrating her own life.  Sometimes I’ll hear her say, “Put this over here (or insert any sentence)…the girl said.”  I think she is a blogger or thespian in the making!

Christmas 2012 Mama O and big sister
Celebrating Christmas 2012 – Mama O and big sister (she’s watching TV)

I’m looking forward to a great 2013 with my family.  I’m excited to see what will come along – new opportunities, challenges, and much more to discuss in the coming days.  I’m doing my best not to be anxious about not having a “plan” worked out, which is difficult for a planning girl to do.  I’m trusting in God’s plan for me, trying to listen for signs that I’m on the right track. For the moment, I think my happy, healthy family is indicating that I am where I’m supposed to be right now.